DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a wonderful man for 17 years and we have two children. My life should be perfect, and it is -- until it's time to visit my in-laws.
We don't see them more than a few times a year, but I've taken to pleading work as an excuse not to see them on holidays or special occasions if I can avoid it. I have even spent Christmas at home alone because I can't stand how verbally abusive my in-laws are.
They are now pressuring my husband to move nearer to them. The thought makes me sick.
The Easter holidays are coming and I don't know what to do. I'm afraid one day the buildup of anger will make me explode. How can I make their verbal abuse stop? I'm sick of being the brunt of jokes and sarcastic comments. -- "Outlaw" In Arizona
DEAR "OUTLAW": If your husband is "wonderful," why has he tolerated his parents' treating you this way for 17 years?
You can't "make" your in-laws stop their verbal abuse, but your husband might be able to if he locates his spine and puts his foot down. There should be no more talk of moving close to these toxic people, nor should there be any more visits to them until they either change their attitudes or learn to watch their mouths. If your husband feels he must go, then he should go alone, and you should stop making excuses for your absence.
DEAR ABBY: My husband is an alcoholic who attends AA meetings. Last night he forgot to sign out of his email and I saw he has been corresponding with a woman he met at the meetings. In her message she confided her problems finding a man. His reply was that she has been picking the wrong men, that he cares and that they need to talk face-to-face.
I don't want to confront him because he has a nasty temper, yet I feel I must do something. But what? -- Lost In Nowhere, Montana
DEAR LOST: Simply ask your husband if he has become this woman's AA sponsor. It might explain why she is confiding in him, and why he suggested they meet face-to-face to talk, which could be entirely innocent.
If something is going on, it would be better for your emotional health to know what you are dealing with. And if your husband responds with verbal or physical abuse because of his "nasty temper," you should insist on marriage counseling or get out of there for your own safety.
Dear Abby, written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © 2013 UNIVERSAL UCLICK.